Lessons from Left Field
Isn't it fun when life hands you lessons from a seemingly unrelated area of your life?
Ok, not all lessons are fun...but I usually enjoy that moment when I realize I can apply something newly learned to the rest of my life.
In one of my aviation classes, we are covering twelve of the most common human error preconditions, or conditions that can act as precursors, to accidents or incidents. This "Dirty Dozen" concept was developed by Gordon Dupont while he was at Transport Canada in 1993; but the concept has widely been adopted in the Human Factors area of aviation, and is even referenced by our own FAA.
The lessons to the non-aviation community are fairly apparent, but I'll spend a moment with each to highlight how they apply to both of my CRM worlds (Crew Resource Management and Customer Relationship Management). As you read these, you may find some trouble points within your own organization.
Lack of Communication
It's a bit frightening to read that only 30% of verbal communication is received and understood by either side in a conversation, with a spikes of interest book-ending what you say. When communicating an important facet of your implementation, be sure to cover important bits in the beginning and then repeat them at the end of the conversation. Receivers should echo back what they interpreted to be the sender's meaning.
Doing a task over and over can lead to overconfidence. I specifically approach even the most mundane tasks as a complete newcomer to make certain I don't miss a crucial step because it was 'taken for granted' or simply forgotten.
Lack of Knowledge
In aviation, training and qualifications are heavily regulated. This isn't always the case in the corporate world, and we need to rely on ourselves to speak up when something isn't understood as well as it should be. It's fine to not know something, but it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone...especially at the end of a project.
This one is a challenge for me...I'm a polymath and practically everything interests me on some level. I have to work to focus on the task at hand and to keep from chasing down every rabbit-hole idea that runs tangent to my project. If you're like me, keep a notebook of things to read up on later, and when picking up a project again, go back a few steps to rebuild the rhythm and momentum.
Lack of Teamwork
Pretty obvious, that. This is an issue in just about every industry and there are plenty of ways to mitigate this. Communication and trust are principles in any successful method.
Hopefully, less of an issue in the corporate world as most of us aren't working a swing or graveyard shift. Granted, the side-hustle empire won't build itself, but find the balance that has you bringing your A-Game to every endeavor rather than doing many things at 50%.
Lack of resources
I know this is a thing everywhere. One of the reasons I am big into Flow and Power Apps is because everyone is being asked to do more with fewer and fewer resources. We need to automate the mundane just to tread water.
You see where this is going, right? We have all seen headcount reduced while workload remains flat, or even increases. This adds pressure to all who remain and could trigger a slide in morale if management isn't careful. Again, communication and trust are key players in keeping the machine rolling.
Lack of Assertiveness
In all industries, it's easy to dismiss our own thoughts as 'unqualified' or misplaced. I spend a great deal of time helping professionals and experts from all walks through their own impostor syndrome. It's this insecurity that keeps most of us from speaking up when we should, for fear of appearing incompetent, or looking silly. As leaders, we should provide a safe environment for our team to express concerns. As members of a team, we should not assume that something has already been considered. The world needs your perspective and expertise.
Much like pressure, stress offers key insight into one's mental fortitude and can be mitigated with communication. Disconnecting from the problem helps, as well as seeking counsel from a mentor...anything to pull you out of the cycle.
Lack of Awareness
Some say the first step is admitting you have a problem. I'll counter that the real first step is knowing you have a problem. I've built a solid niche with a few clients by solving problems they didn't know they had, largely by connecting disparate workflows and resolving conflicts within their systems and processes. When implementing something new, or 'fixing' something, understand how the pieces interlock further downstream to make sure you aren't just causing more work down the line.
When asked about a specific process, I often hear, "I don't know, we've just always done it this way". Understand the Why behind the steps. Intent matters.
Not every one of these will apply to your business, but I hope there were a few which resonated and challenged you to go down a rabbit-hole of your own.